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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genes encoding the same three subunits of respiratory complex II are present in the mitochondrial DNA of two phylogenetically distant eukaryotes.

Although mitochondrial DNA is known to encode a limited number (<20) of the polypeptide components of respiratory complexes I, III, IV, and V, genes for components of complex II [ succinate dehydrogenase (ubiquinone); succinate:ubiquinone oxidoreductase, EC] are conspicuously lacking in mitochondrial genomes so far characterized. Here we show that the same three subunits of complex II are encoded in the mitochondrial DNA of two phylogenetically distant eukaryotes, Porphyra purpurea (a photosynthetic red alga) and Reclinomonas americana (a heterotrophic zooflagellate). These complex II genes, sdh2, sdh3, and sdh4, are homologs, respectively, of Escherichia coli sdhB, sdhC, and sdhD. In E. coli, sdhB encodes the iron-sulfur subunit of succinate dehydrogenase ( SDH), whereas sdhC and sdhD specify, respectively, apocytochrome b558 and a hydrophobic 13-kDa polypeptide, which together anchor SDH to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Amino acid sequence similarities indicate that sdh2, sdh3, and sdh4 were originally encoded in the protomitochondrial genome and have subsequently been transferred to the nuclear genome in most eukaryotes. The data presented here are consistent with the view that mitochondria constitute a monophyletic lineage.[1]


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